In case you were wondering, our sixth president really knew how to write a nice rejection letter.
Taking up precisely a full page with neat, handwritten script, John Quincy Adams politely and eloquently declined an invitation to attend a Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society event in the late 1830s, citing his flagging health during a sweltering heat wave. No one might have ever known it, if not for Plainfield Public Library archivist Jeff Wassen — who said he knew the letter was part of the library’s huge collection of historic archives, but forgot about it to some degree before recently rediscovering it.
“It’s in very good condition,” the library’s head archivist, Sarah Hull, explained, donning a pair of blue rubber gloves to handle the letter. “It looks brand new.”